In most European countries, registration and identification of dogs is compulsory. In Italy, the national dog registry is composed of regional dog registries. Although dog registries have been established for many years, the issue related to completeness of data has not been addressed so far. The objective of this study was twofold: first to assess the completeness of data of the dog registry through telephone interview of a sample of dog owners drawn from the dog registry, then to estimate the total owned dog population in 4 boroughs of Rome. For the second objective, a capture-recapture method was applied using data from the dog registry and data from a face-to-face questionnaire submitted to people waiting in the sitting room of 5 points of access for booking and payment of primary and specialist care. Different scenarios are proposed to verify the assumptions of the estimation procedure and potential biases are discussed. The completeness of data of the dog registry was 88.9% (95% CI: 85.8-91.9%) and the owned-dog population was estimated at 26,244 dogs (95% CI: 24,110-28,383). The dog registry is an important source of information especially when it is properly updated and completeness of data is known.
Keywords: Dog registry; Owned dog population.
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